Falling prices have also attracted more out-of-state buyers, especially those from California, said Leonard Steinberg, an agent with Compass. About 10 to 15 percent of Mr. Steinberg’s buyers are now out-of-towners, he said, compared with about 3 percent last year.
While a turnaround isn’t certain based on the results from just one quarter, other sales data suggest the market is revving up. There were 3,708 contracts signed in the first quarter, the most for that period since 2007, according to a report from the brokerage Corcoran.
“It’s the strongest start to the year in a long time,” said Pamela Liebman, the president and chief executive of Corcoran, noting a mix of favorable prices and growing confidence in the vaccine rollout.
Still, challenges remain. The total number of listings for sale was 7,224 in the first quarter, up 18 percent from the same time last year, Mr. Miller said. But inventory has decreased steadily from a peak of more than 9,300 listings last summer, when Covid-related restrictions were lifted. At the current rate of sales, there is 8.8 months’ worth of inventory, only slightly higher than the 20-year average of 8.7 months.
For some agents, though, things are already looking up. Tyler Whitman, a salesman with Triplemint, said that after a price cut, several of his stagnant listings from 2020 began to sell this quarter. One TriBeCa condo, a three-bedroom listed for nearly $5 million, received six offers.
“I don’t even think the floodgates have opened yet,” he said. “I think we’re just getting started.”
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